Catholic Church acts to deal with an epidemic of demonic possessions

A COMBINATION of modern technology and medieval claptrap has led to the creation of a demon-busting hotline in Milan.

According to this report, the hotline was set up to deal with a barrage of requests from people who imagine that they, or those close to them, had been invaded by demonic squatters.

Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni, the Milan diocese’s chief exorcist since 1995, said the curia had also increased the number of exorcists from six to 12 to cope with a doubled increase in the number of requests for help over 15 years.

Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni

We get many requests for names, addresses and phone numbers; that’s why we’ve set up a switchboard in the curia from Monday to Friday from 2.30pm to 5pm.

He added:

People in need can call and will be able to find a priest in the same area who doesn’t have to travel too far.

The Monsignor said he knew of one exorcist who had been seeing up to 120 people a day.

But with so little time per client he was only able to offer a quick blessing. That’s not enough. There should be two to four appointments a day, no more, otherwise it’s too much.

It’s not clear why the number of suspected possessions has risen so sharply. But Monsignor Mascheroni said that part of the increase might be explained by the rising numbers of parents having difficulty controlling disobedient teenagers.

Usually the parents call [because they are] concerned about a child who won’t go to school or who’s taking drugs or rebelling. In reality it’s not a demon, but when they’re 18 years old young people don’t want to be told what to do.

Surprisingly for the Catholic Church, which is always seeking ways of filling its coffers, calls will not be charged at premium rates.

Magicians demand money; we … give our time, give benediction … all for free. It couldn’t be any other way.

Mascheroni added a warning that many worried and vulnerable people were at risk from charlatans.

The Monsignor said that all those who sought help were welcomed. But he added:

The real diabolical phenomena, at least in my experience, are very rare.

He said that “mental phenomena, mental and psychiatric disorders” were often to blame for unusual behaviour.

Father Amorth

In this respect he is clearly at odds with Father Gabriele Amorth, who was the Vatican’s chief exorcist for 25 years. Amorth, who claims to have dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church were proof that  “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican”.

He also claimed that satanic behaviour lay behind Vatican attempts to “cover up” the deaths of Alois Estermann, then commander of the Swiss Guard, his wife and another Swiss Guard, Corporal Cedric Tornay, in 1998.

The dotty old crank also took a dim view of fantasy novels and yoga. Practising the latter, he once warned, was:

Satanic; it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter.

Exorcism is defined by the Catholic Encyclopaedia as:

The act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice.

Exorcism has been practised by the Church for centuries, but its use has increased dramatically over the last half century.


Hat tip: Angela K, BarrieJohn and Agent Cormac


32 responses to “Catholic Church acts to deal with an epidemic of demonic possessions”

  1. David Anderson says:

    Anybody who believes in gods is suffering from a virous of the mind.These scumbags just feed from it.

  2. Ian says:

    We all know that the only people who suffer from ‘demonic possesion’ are those who believe and whilst we scoff at their superstitious nonsense there is another side.

    This post is one that I did for another site, it’s a bit chatty but is based on a true incident; not this time involving the RCC but anglicans in the UK:

  3. T says:

    “Mascheroni added a warning that many worried and vulnerable people were at risk from charlatans” Well said – all religions are based on the exploitation of vulnerable and easily manipulated people by charlatans who claim to know what god (a fictitious entity invented by the charlatans for the explicit purpose for cowing the gullible) wants.

  4. remigius says:

    In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghostbusters.

  5. ZombieHunter says:

    It’s funny you should mention ghostbusters remigius, I wonder if they will drive in their own ecto1 and instead of proton packs they have super soakers filled with holy water, it worked in from dusk til dawn. 😛

  6. AgentCormac says:

    @ T

    I think it’s actually a typo – it should really read, “…worried and vulnerable people were at risk from christians”

  7. Broga says:

    Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether to laugh or cry. Is it mainly Roman Catholics who are afflicted by these demons? I wonder why we don’t have a TfTD on this as the numbers of demonic possession are increasing so much.

  8. demotic says:

    i think the real headline here should be “Church fails to direct mentally ill to mental health services”

  9. Matt Westwood says:

    Who’s up for preparing a spoof recording of someone having a demonic attack for playing down the phone to said helpline?

    “Help – he’s here – he’s inside me … (sound of extreme regurgitation) … help – help – he’s … (sound of splitering bones and grinding cartilage) … argh … (and then in a subvocally-deep and leering voice) … unshpeaggkgkgkable ligigiiggttle woghghghrm …” and so on.

  10. Trevor Blake says:

    As a thought experiment, consider how it would be received if Monsignor Mascheroni and his subordinates did exactly what they are doing now, but not in the name of Christ. Suppose they aligned malformed phlogiston-sprites in the name of Lord Krondor, instead of casting out demons in the name of Jesus. It’s a simple game: (mis-applied verb) (imaginary problem) (imaginary solution). Their actions would be somewhere between ridiculous and harassing. The enfranchised superstitions (religion) get a pass for behavior that is otherwise frowned upon or criminal.

    It’s not that I’m against made-up stories and strange performance art. It’s that I’m against people being robbed, tricked, neglected and murdered. What’s the harm in exorcism? Try this…

  11. Broga says:

    The diabolic possession scam is another means of the RC Church exercising its power on the gullible and uneducated. Invent a devil, scare the hell out of the believers who have been heavily indoctrinated since childhood, impute diabolic possession to whatever human problem conveneniently fits the fantasy and then, guess what, a priest can help you. The cause of the problem doesn’t exist and neither does the solution. It’s the indulgence scam all over again.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Are they saying that the spirits knock off at 5.00pm then?

    Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni = Common hooligan – sinners rage

  13. barriejohn says:

    “The Devil is at work inside the Vatican”: one of my favourite quotes of all time!

  14. Bobbie man says:

    When I see ridiculous stuff like this it scares me that people still fall for this garbage.
    But when I see the many posts mocking the craziness I know there’s hope.

    It’s only a matter of time and this make believe god will end up on a shelf with Zeus and Thor…

  15. David Anderson says:

    Nah barriejohn, that’s about the time I start drinking them.

  16. RabbitOnAStick says:

    “Practicing yoga. he once warned, was: Satanic; it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter.”
    What is wrong with these people. They all ought to be locked up. Why do we allow these types of imbeciles to spout this outrageous nonsense and allow them to behave like it is [they are] normal, give credibility, rationality or believability. Allowing them a voice like this.

    There are mental institutions for people who are deluded. It is so sad we cannot get to grips with all this disgraceful stupid dangerous behaviour.

    Yoga and reading a kids book is ‘satanic’ and leads to “evil”. What evil? More evil than the utter evil and horror from the bible and the directions within it? As just one example: Kill your children who are rude to you. That epitomises pure evil as I understand the term.

    At least Harry Potter is enjoyable.

  17. RabbitOnAStick says:

    Barriejohn. Agreed. Yes that’s the best quote I have seen for a while.

  18. remigius says:

    Matt. Have you heard the prank call to the fundie ex-crack head MacDonalds manager. Apparently the manager is an exorcist so the prankster really hams up the demonic possession. Very funny.

  19. barriejohn says:

    Returning to that hilarious quote of Amorth’s: Billy Graham used to keep banging on about how careful he had to be seeing that he was the special target of Satan. These arrogant, pompous, self-regarding idiots really believe that due to their exceeding holiness, and the great value of the work that they do, they suffer temptations that us plebs can’t possibly envisage. I knew one Irish evangelist (very popular in Swindon) who obviously suffered from bouts of sleep paralysis (he was an extremely excitable individual, which might provide a clue) and who repeatedly proclaimed from the platform that a witch had cursed him during one of his campaigns, and that to release himself from Satan’s power at night he had to “claim the Blood of Christ”! This is the reason that lying, deceitful hypocrites like Rekers, Haggard, Swaggart, Bakker & co get away with what they do, and are welcomed back into the fold with open arms just as long as they “repent”. Remember Cundick?

  20. Broga says:

    Didn’t Elmor Gantry, in the film with Burt Lancaster if not the book,have a fight in a boxing ring with the devil?

  21. Stonyground says:

    All this stuff about demons reminded me of an entry on the Darwin Awards website. The church had put on some kind of play involving the battle between good and evil. In order to make it extra authentic, they hired a professional actor to play the part of Satan. As it turned out, this guy was very good and took the gig very seriously. He laid on spectacular pyrotechnics and played the pantomime villain with such skill that several of the congregation literally died of fright.

    I suppose that this is one of the dangers of having the inability to distinguish fantasy from reality. This is the root of the “Harry Potter books are evil” meme. The kids who like Harry Potter understand that it isn’t real. The kind of people who have a problem with these books, are themselves unable to tell the difference between fairy tales and real life. As a result of thinking that everyone else is just as deluded as they are, they see a problem that doesn’t exist.

  22. AgentCormac says:

    You do have to wonder why the RCC, in the 21st century, still feels the need to try and scare people with the idea of demons and possession. Do I hear the sound of bejewelled hands clutching at some very fine straws?

  23. Marky Mark says:

    (It’s not clear why the number of suspected possessions has risen so sharply.)…because the followers that now exist are out right crazy people.

    (Invent a devil, scare the hell out of the believers who have been heavily indoctrinated since childhood, impute diabolic possession to whatever human problem conveneniently fits the fantasy and then, guess what, a priest can help you.)… Exactly!

  24. Matt Westwood says:

    A while ago I had a popup appear on my computer telling me that I had a seriously infected hard drive. It said it had done a scan and found over 1000 viruses, trojans and other assorted malware, and if I paid $23.99 there and then I could download a piece of software that would automatically clean up my machine there and then.

    Same paradigm: non-existent problem, pay money for an unnecessary solution which itself is the problem that it is purporting to cure.

  25. barriejohn says:

    Stonyground: This was it, but there’s no corroboration!

    I notice, BTW, that the coach which hit a bridge at Miami airport today, killing two passengers, was taking Jehovah’s Witnesses on an outing. Do they NEVER ask themselves where their divine protection is?

  26. Matt Westwood says:

    @barriejohn: Don’t tell me, someone in the coach said, “Let’s all bow our heads and close our eyes in a moment of prayer,” and they all did.

    Including the driver.

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  28. tony e says:

    My first thought on reading this article was ‘Is this some sort of clever pre-emptive ploy?’ Is it looking likely that some of the priests in this diocese might soon be up on paedophile charges and the church can say ‘The devil made them do it?’

  29. barriejohn says:

    @tony e: That’s what I said above. They are subject to such severe attacks by the devil himself that we have to make allowances for them, as we mere mortals have no idea what they are up against!

  30. tony e says:


    As atheists we are lucky because we can see this flim flam for what it is, a cheap side show act.

    What is particularly saddening for me is not only do people swallow this (en masse) but they often spend lifetimes of fear and misery because of a belief in demons.

  31. Stephen Mynett says:

    Posacki said. “Manifestation in the form or (sic) levitation is less common, but does occur and we must speak about it — I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”

    I always feel more comfortable when reading stuff from a sane and reliable witness.